This week, I taught on the word "spanda."
Spanda is one of my favorite words in yoga. Spanda means pulsation, the dance between expansion and contraction.
There is ample evidence that the universe is pulsing right before our eyes. The flowers bloom and then wither as the moon waxes and wanes; we breathe in and out as entire star systems collapse in on themselves only to explode into a new beginning. Spanda is the music to which all of life is set, each organism tapping out its own unique rhythm of existence.
However, life's rhythms are rarely as tidy as a metronome. Our lives oscillate unevenly, jumping from joy to sorrow, abundance to scarcity, and health to illness. Yoga invites us to explore these opposing but complementary forces. When do I need to be stronger? When do I need to soften in a little more? These questions are the beginning of personal growth.
In essence, spanda invites us to embrace both sides of the pulsation, to find a way to mix the two sides of the equation together, to combine the oil and the water. The more skillful we become at this, the more our practice grows. We learn to embrace the ambiguity of our human experience. We learn to revel in the texture of our lives.